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Marine Big 5 Tour - Hermanus Return


Activity Description

Please note that the Conservation Fee is compulsory. Please check the Add-on and specify the number of adults and children during the booking process. The booking will not be successful if this add-on is not selected and accounted for to all members in the group.

Kindly specify the number of children included in your booking, where a child is aged 11 years or younger. Children under 5 years of age are exempt from charges. Please select the add-on option to include the Discounted Infant Seat (0-4 years) to apply for the Infant seat that is free of charge. Please keep in mind that the compulsory Conservation Fee applies to all guests, adults, children and infants.

Our tours are dependent on weather and tidal conditions, and consequently, launch times may deviate from the initial schedules. The exact pick-up time for your tour will be confirmed a day before.

Our fleet includes two custom-designed vessels, meticulously crafted to prioritize your safety and comfort, ensuring an optimal experience for observing marine wildlife. The Dream Catcher, a 14m catamaran, can accommodate up to 50 passengers and 6 crew members. Complementing this, the Whale Whisperer, a 4m semi-rigid inflatable, accommodates 24 passengers and 4 crew members. Our vessels offer ample space, furnished with dedicated platforms for photographers, onboard toilette facilities and a PA system. While we retain the prerogative to deploy any of our vessels based on passenger count, rest assured that your comfort and safety remain our priority. Our vessels undergo annual inspections by the South African Maritime Safety Authority, adhering to stringent specifications. Safety provisions include an onboard first aid kit, life-raft, radio, and cellular communications, and we have standard operational procedures assisting with any medical emergencies.

Upon your arrival at The Great White House, you will view an introductory briefing concerning the itinerary, safety protocols, and notable highlights while enjoying some muffins and coffee. We do provide audio visual safety briefings in Italian, French, Russian, Spanish, German and Portuguese, please do inform us if you would like the briefing in a different language. Guests will then be dressed in essential life-jackets and waterproof jackets for their safety and convenience.

The duration of the Marine Big 5 Tour spans between 2 to 2.5 hours, depending upon wildlife sightings and prevailing weather conditions. All tours launch from Kleinbaai Harbour in close proximity to Gansbaai. Dyer Island, located 8 km offshore, stands as an access-controlled Important Bird Area (IBA), safeguarding numerous resident avian species, including the endangered African penguin. Situated adjacent to Dyer Island is Geyser Rock, which is home to a robust colony of 60,000 Cape fur seals, present year-round. Our journey will take us through the world-famous channel known as ‘Shark Alley’, nestled between Dyer Island and Geyser Rock, Gansbaai include various species of seabirds such as albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, gannets and terns, These birds are adapted to life at sea and can be seen gliding over the waves, diving for fish, or resting on the water’s surface. Next, we will navigate to prime whale viewing areas within the bay. With a wealth of over two decades of experience, we possess an innate awareness of optimal whale sighting locations. The Southern right whale season extends from June to November, during which our focus shifts to observing these magnificent creatures as they visit our coastal waters for mating and calving purposes. Throughout the year, we may also encounter the more reserved resident Bryde’s whale. The period spanning December to June offers opportunities to actively search for this species during our tours. Additionally, we may encounter the majestic Humpback whales during the initiation and conclusion of their migration cycle. Our region also boasts three distinct dolphin species—common, bottlenose, and the endangered humpback variety. As luck would have it, we may have the privilege of encountering one of these species. This marine adventure includes a visit to the shark cage diving vessels in the area to offer a sighting of a bronze whaler shark or the awe-inspiring great white shark.

It’s important to acknowledge that this is wildlife we work with and we cannot guarantee sightings; however, our dedicated team strives to provide opportunities to witness as many members of the Marine Big 5 as possible.

A hallmark of our tours lies in their fusion of enjoyment and education. Each excursion is led by seasoned marine biologists and guides, who eagerly share their wealth of knowledge with you, all while upholding a strong commitment to animal welfare and conservation. At the core of our ethos is responsible tourism, epitomized by our dedication to research, conservation initiatives, education, and the betterment of our local community.

To facilitate a seamless experience, all clients will receive an online check-in link. Completion of this process, including the signing of the indemnity form, is mandatory for tour participation.

Thank you for paying the conservation fee, your money goes directly towards the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, enabling us to do research, monitoring, attend to marine animal strandings, rehabilitation- and marine conservation work. This would not be possible without your conservation fee. This fee ensures that the whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and African penguins of the Dyer Island Eco System, will be here, not only upon your return, but your children’s and grandchildren’s return.


DurationOpen Ended
WhenYear-round, seven days a week – weather dependent. **Southern right whale season is generally mid-June to mid-November.
WhereThe Great White House, where you will receive a brief introductory talk about the route, safety, and what to look out for. We then take a 200-meter stroll down to the harbour to board. Tour pick-up times are confirmed the day prior after a detailed weather and tide check.
Weather Due to variable weather conditions the trip may not always be possible and is therefore not guaranteed. Time-related itineraries are dependent on tides, weather conditions and the number of tours scheduled for a particular day. Tour pick-up times are only confirmed the day prior after a detailed weather and tide check. The tour time slot times are only estimate times and not confirmed times. We will contact you the day prior. Please ensure you receive your message with your pickup time and the correct address.
What to WearAlways bring warm clothing as it is cooler at sea than on land. Comfortable closed shoes are advised.
Things to BringBinoculars, camera, warm clothing, sunscreen.
Guests or SpectatorsAll passengers on board are charged, except for children under 5 years old. Please use anti-seasick medication well in advance if you are prone to motion sickness. We are not authorised to provide medication on-site.


Minimum Age0 years
Minimum Height0.0 m
Maximum Height0.0 m
Fitness LevelNo Fitness Requirement
QualificationsNot Applicable
Maximum Weight0.0 kg
CertificationNone Required
Experience LevelNo Experience Requirement

Inclusions and Exclusions


Chauffeur-driven transfer to and from Hermanus
Boat Trip
Tea and coffee with muffins on arrival
Water on board
Towels and blankets on board
Safety and weather jacket
Soup and bread after the trip from June to December
Lasagne and salad after the trip from January to May

ExclusionsExtra beverages and snacks


All trips are weather and tide-dependent and launch times may vary accordingly from those stated. Your pick-up time will be confirmed the day before after a detailed weather and tide check.

Customer Reviews

Really enjoyable and informative tour - having a marine biologist on board makes a big difference to the experience. All the arrangements for booking, pick up in Hermanus, checking in etc were efficient (apart from a slight miscommunication about the fact our original tour time had been brought forward) We saw a great variety of sea and bird life - the visit to the seal colony and seeing sharks were the highlights for me, but it was all great. Every single member of the team was approachable, friendly and knowledgeable and I would definitely recommend this tour! - Michael

We had been on the Marine 5 tour previously and decided to book again on our latest visit. While we didn't see any whales this time, it being too late in the season, it was still a most enjoyable trip. We saw lots of seals, penguins and a couple of sharks. The boat is comfortable and the crew helpful and informative. The coffee and muffins before departure and the soup on return are nice touches. - Michael

Beyond expectations! After we were greeted by some playful dolphins we encountered some swimming pinguins, a very lot of seals and as a cherry on the cake.... Though way after the whale season, we managed to 'catch' some whales. It was really majestic! The sharks were also fabulous to see. We managed to see all the 'promised' animals! Very lucky we got a place to enjoy this superb trip! - MH

I had such a great time!! the boat crew was great and got to see four out of the five marine species. I have to make sure to come back during whale season to see the whales on the island. I cannot wait to get the link for the video taken on the boat cruise so i can share the experience with my family. They already love the pictures I took. I can't wait to bring my friends to see the whales!!! - Tsepiso

We had the most wonderful time and saw everything. I was with my three grown-up children and my stepsister and her husband. Everybody went to so much trouble. Definitely an experience not to be missed! Lionel. - Lionel

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